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Nawabshah landing


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THE emergency landing by an Indian passenger plane in Nawabshah on Monday does signify some progress in Pakistan-India relations over time. That the flight which had developed faults midair while flying from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi was able to land in Pakistani territory at all is an important landmark. On the other hand, the 130 passengers and crew who spent 13 hours inside the plane in Nawabshah can be viewed as a metaphor for the millions who find themselves caught between the governments in Delhi and Islamabad that are tediously slow when it comes to improving ties.

These 130 accidental guests could have acted as better-equipped agents of normalisation had they been allowed to experience Pakistani hospitality firsthand. Instead, they were made to spend 13 hours inside the parked aircraft, the pilot choosing to burden the chance hosts with no more than a request for a few bottles of water. He was not unfriendly at all and has been described as polite. Yet, it appears that he was carrying on his shoulders not just the responsibility of ensuring his passengers reached their destination, a monumental task no doubt. He was also weighed down by perceptions and policies and fears and suspicions that would be hard to overcome in ‘hostile’ territory. With this baggage, he could hardly be blamed for acting cautious when he refused food and an offer for the passengers to step out of the plane and refresh themselves. However, this ‘pleasant’ stopover has to be marked somehow. The peace activists will be all too keen to highlight the incident and the newspapers to cash in on it. It would be great though if the Pakistani government could sent some 130 gifts to the Air India passengers and crew as souvenirs of their memorable stay in Nawabshah.

Comments (13) Closed

Indian Jul 12, 2012 05:01am
In fear of misinterpretation of my earlier comments, I need to mention that Indians were quite relieved and thankful for pakistani hospitality. The Indian media too has lauded pakistani help.
Altaf Husain, Mumbai Jul 12, 2012 04:47am
The pilot cannot be blamed because he had no clue to safety norms in place at the airport, as Nawabshah is not a regular international airport. Furthermore, all it needed was one passenger to slip out for a short while and bring heavens down. He is the one, and the only one, who had to face the music if anything had gone amiss.
Abbas Jul 12, 2012 03:42am
Pakistan provided enough hospitality to Air India, including refueling their aircraft.
Raoul Ciao Jul 12, 2012 01:14pm
Thanks to Pakistani promptness in acting as kind guests on this issue. Great gesture, will be a positive building block I'm sure.
Akil Akhtar Jul 12, 2012 04:21am
Nothing but paranoia similar to the propoganda of the west agaisnt russia or that of Israel agaisnt Palestinians. The smaller and the weaker is branded as evil thus justifying evey action of the stronger...nothign new.
Indian Jul 12, 2012 04:23am
A pleasant change from IC 814 experience. I think we neighbours have burnt our fingers so much that it will take time for us to gain each others trust. ( if nothing new untoward happens)
Indian Jul 12, 2012 04:39am
I wonder when will Pakistanis make its army accountable for what they do without any political consent? Stop sleepwalking.
shankar Jul 12, 2012 11:37am
Thanks you Pakistan! We will always remeber this gesture with gratititude!
Siddique Malik Jul 12, 2012 10:58am
Dawn's comment "That the flight which had developed faults midair while flying from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi was able to land in Pakistani territory at all is an important landmark" is unwise. Let us say the relations between the two countries were at an all time low: Would Pakistan have denied the plane permission to land? What if it had crashed because of that denial? The entire world would have condemned Pakistan for it, and rightly so. I am glad that the plane landed and nobody was hurt. There needs to be an investigation to determine if the pilot acted on his own or if he was instructed by New Delhi not to let the passengers out. If former is the case, that means the pilot needs training in passenger comfort. If latter is the case, the great people of India should tell their government to stop treating Pakistan as an enemy. People of India and Pakistan love each other. How dare their governments continue to think otherwise? Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
Surendran Jul 12, 2012 06:59am
Let us hope this marks a new chapter in our troubled relations, television channels and newspapers reports in India were extremely effusive in their praise for Pakistani hospitality, though it could be said that the pilot may have erred on the side of caution. Let us stop bickering and live like responsible neighbors and make it less like a David and Goliath issue. Both our countries have far more important issues on the humanitarian side that we should focus on.
deepu Jul 12, 2012 06:51am
As an Indian, I thank for the gestures of ordinary pakistanis whether in this case or while last cricket matches between our countries in Pakistan. I wish if the people at helm of affairs too heed to this quest for peace!
vasan Jul 12, 2012 06:52am
Thank u Pakistan for your courtesy and hospitality. No politics here
BNS Jul 13, 2012 12:18am
Great idea from Dawn. We need to to communicate to common Indians that we are friendly people not hostile. Please send this idea to relevant authorities, in case they did not read your editorial.